— July 16, 2012 —
Conversations with leading cultural figures
With Sorrow Snare Photography by Robin Friend The most satisfying pieces of work are those based on a simple idea, and handled in a clever and interesting way. The Gourmand is exactly that: a new food, arts and culture journal founded, edited and designed by London-based creatives David Lane and Marina Tweed, born out of a conversation with friends over dinner at home.
There are countless food magazines on the market but The Gourmand's success is two-fold: clever, brilliantly executed editorial ideas and complimentary graphic design, combined with charming subtle details such as a wipe clean cover (perfect for any kitchen spillages). Despite its London base, its stories cover various international locations: a trip to Brixton market with musicians The 2 Bears, sits next to beautifully poignant images of roadside cafes in South India. A briliant feature focused on the humble kebab sits next to Robin Friend's striking images of Australian crocodiles leaping for hunks of meat. And then there is Jamie Brown and Luke Kirwan's depictions of 20th century art movements using food on a plate.
To celebrate its release, AnOther caught up with editor and art director David Lane to talk through the journey of the first issue and find out his food and drink preferences...
How did The Gourmand first come about?
It came about through a mutual love and respect for the communicative power of food and drink. We hosted a dinner at our home with friends, discussed the idea of the magazine and that was it – from there it was quite an organic process. Most of the people present at that dinner have contributed to this first issue in some way or another. As we ate we discussed our initial ideas for editorial, illustration and photography projects and it has been a real pleasure to watch these ideas form into the finished journal. Food is, and has always been, a real catalyst for creativity and has an inherent relationship with the arts, and we felt that this should be represented in print.
"Food is, and has always been, a real catalyst for creativity and has an inherent relationship with the arts, and we felt that this should be represented in print"
What magazines do you enjoy?
I enjoyed the recent food issue of Port magazine and Apartemento is always a lovely product. I also read Tate etc and Frieze magazine. The AA Files is beautifully designed by John Morgan Studio and is a great example of how lovely an object a magazine can be. There is also a really encouraging shift towards smaller independent publishing and there are some great journals around like The Plant Journal and The Green Soccer Journal.
What makes a good magazine?
I think when you're reading, you can always tell if the people putting together a magazine really believe in what they are doing, or if they are simply creating a vehicle for advertising and ticking the boxes of what they think other people will enjoy. A good magazine is honest. Also, being a designer I think that the design and production quality have a huge part to play. Good design creates something that we want to keep, not just read and then throw away.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of creating the first issue? And the most challenging?
The enthusiasm, support and belief we have received from everyone who has been involved and having the chance to be our own client. It's actually been a real pleasure. Hard work but well worth it.
What aspect of the first issue are you most proud about
That all of the content is commissioned specifically for the magazine and that although we have worked in quite an organic way with lots of different people, all with very different approaches, we have created something that is really coherent and represents exactly what we set out to achieve.
Where is your favourite restaurant and whats your favourite dish?
In London we are spoilt for choice. There are great established British restaurants like St John alongside new ones like Brunswick House Cafe in Vauxhall, the recently opened Brasserie Zédel in Piccadilly is well worth a visit. There are amazing Turkish grills like Mangal on Arcola Street in Dalston. Koya in SoHo is good for humble Japanese food. As well as the River Café and all of the other great restaurants it and its chefs have spawned across the capital. But for us, eating out is as much about the atmosphere and company as it is about the food. We love eating simple food out doors which currently pretty much rules out London. Any little restaurant in a hill-top Tuscan Village with a good crowd of friends and lots of local wine would offer a more memorable meal.
Where is your favourite place to enjoy a coffee?
In London Milkbar in SoHo, Caravan on Exmouth Market and look mum no hands! on Old Street all do great coffee.
Where is your favourite bar and what is your drink of choice?
Our local The Wenlock Arms is an amazing pub with great beer and great people. The cocktails at Hix in SoHo are good and it's nicely decadent without being too stuffy but the best cocktails I have had have been in New York. I like simple classic cocktails, nothing too over the top. I don't like plastic ducks floating in a rainbow coloured drink.
Where is your favourite food/groceries shop?
London has a real wealth of good food shops representing all different cultures as well as increasingly good markets but as a staple the Turkish Food Centre on Ridley Road is a brilliant alternative to supermarkets. Cheaper better quality seasonal fruit and veg and some great Mediterranean meats, cheeses, breads and things in bottles and jars. They always have good tomatoes.
What is your signature dish?
We like making food that can be shared, lots of little, simple, tasty dishes that together with good bread make a great meal.
Issue 00 (a run of 2000, priced £9) is available now. Discover more here.
Text by Laura Bradley